Spain announce squad for EHF EURO 2012
Left back Alexandrina Barbosa is the most spectacular selection in the 16-women team named by head coach Jorge Dueñas, making Spain the first to announce their squad for the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.
The 26-year-old, who plays club handball for Romanian side CS Oltchim Valcea since the start of the 2012/13 season, was born in Portugal and even played for the country's national team during the qualification for the EHF EURO 2010.
But while playing for Spanish club Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra between 2010 and 2012 she applied for Spanish citizenship which was granted just before she transferred to Oltchim Valcea.
On 18 October she was cleared to play for Spain as three years had passed since her last match for Portugal.
The arrival of Barbosa is a luxury reinforcement for the London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallists, Spain, thanks to her strength in defence and, above all, to her attacking skills which make the new Spanish player one of the most feared sharpshooters in Europe.
"She is a player capable of defending in many different systems. In the attack she is dynamic, powerful and has a very good shot from the distance.
"Furthermore, she has played many years in Spain and knows therefore all her teammates,” Dueñas was quoted on the Spanish Handball Federation’s website.
Barbosa, who scored 78 goals in the 2011/12 Women's EHF Champions League season, finishing among the top 5 scorers, will be responsible for mitigating the long-distance shot problems of the Spanish national team, even though she stresses that her only goal is to add all she can for the team.
"I have come to add (to the team). Handball is a collective game and this team has already won many things without me," said Barbosa, who played five seasons overall in the Spanish League, from 2005 to 2008 in BM. Mar Sagunto and from 2010 to 2012 in Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra.
Alexandrina Barbosa's presence is not the only good news for Spanish coach Jorge Dueñas, who will also be able to count on another key player next January in Serbia, as FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria’s right back Nerea Pena returns after having missed the Olympic Games due to injury.
On the other hand centre back Andrea Barnó, goalkeeper Mihaele Ciobab and RK Zajekar's right wing Jessica Alonso, all three part of Spain's team at the London Games, are not part of the national team anymore.
'The Olympic warriors', as the team is known since their success in London, are seeded in Group C at the EHF EURO 2012 together with Croatia, Germany and Hungary.
For more EHF EURO 2012 news go to www.ehf-euro.com
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Spain’s complete roster for the Women’s EHF EURO 2012 is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Silvia Navarro (CS Oltchim Valcea/ROU) and Cristina González (CLEBA León)
Centre backs: Macarena Aguilar (Randers HK/DEN)
Backs: Alexandrina Barbosa (CS Oltchim Valcea/ROU), Nerea Pena (FTC Rail Cargo/HUN), Marta Mangué (RK Zajekar/SRB), Eli Chávez (OGC Nice/FRA), Patricia Elorza (Bera Bera), Beatriz Fernández and Nely Carla Alberto (Fleury Loiret HB/FRA)
Right wings: Carmen Martin (RK Krim Mercator/SLO) and Marta López (Fleury Loiret HB/FRA)
Left wings: Eli Pinedo (Bera Bera) and Vanessa Amorós (Mecalia At. Guardés)
Line players: Begoña Fernández (RK Zajekar/SRB) and Verónica Cuadrado (KIF Vejen/DEN)
TEXT: Javier Villanueva / ts